I got hugely lucky at The Whisky Exchange Show in London this year, in that I got to try a shit tonne of amazing whisky.
The first day had been pretty amazing but I only had a few hours the second day as I was off to Rome, so wanting to make the most of it I wander over to the Buffalo Trace stand before the show starts (otherwise these would have been gone) and managed to take some very, very quickfire notes on some of these legendary Bourbon’s I never really thought I’d actually get to try.
Old Pappy van Winkle 10 53.5%
Nose: Sharp wood and soft caramel, quite ethereal and teasing.
Taste: Intense, perfumed, sharp wood, caramel, toffee apple, good balance.
Finish: Medium length. More caramel.
This was the one I got the most time with but it was a bit of a disappointment. Nothing too special about it.
Pappy van Winkle 20 45.2%
Colour: Light Bronze
Nose: Oooo, interesting. Popcorn, popcorn everywhere. Corn, caramel popcorn.
Taste: Soft, corn, amazing caramel, toffee, sweet and dry, some sour complexity, oak but not too much.
Finish: Long length. Like chewing salted unpopped popcorn.
Very good stuff. The popcorn notes are cool but really take over the whole whiskey. Despite that, it’s still seriously good Bourbon.
Pappy van Winkle 23 47.8%
Nose: Deeper and darker than the 20.
Taste: Soft, great balance but then this perfumed oakiness that's a bit too much.
Finish: Long length. Oaky perfume.
The big’un and the oldest Bourbon I’ve ever tried. The guys on the stand were right though, not as good as the 20 though.
Right, with those out the way it was onto the new Antique Collection. I tried last year’s Stagg and that had been my favourite Bourbon so far, so I was keen to try some of the others in the set.
Eagle Rare 17 2017 Release 45%
Colour: Dark Bronze
Nose: Oak, caramel, nice complexity. DEEP.
Taste: Oak, spice, a little bite. More oak.
Finish: Long length. Oaky.
A deep oaky one. This was the only one where I’d tried a previous edition but this wasn’t as good as last year’s in my opinion.
Nose: Ethereal spices and a slight fruitiness.
Taste: Intense, good arrival but then a very spicy development. Loads of clove, ginger and black pepper.
Finish: Long length. Caramel and rye spice.
6 year old I've heard. A little too spicy for my tastes.
William Larue Weller 2017 Release 64.1%
Nose: Complex amazing caramel and honey waves.
Taste: Soft and amazing, hot in a great way, chilli chocolate, caramel, honey, oak. Lovely.
Finish: Long length. Soft and lovely.
Best Bourbon I've tried so far. Complex nose, nice balance to it and really cool juxtaposition of the softness and heat. Lovely. 12 years old I heard.
Thanks for reading!
American Reviews #30-#35
Whisky Network Reviews #550-#555
American Average: 70.7
Network Average: 74.5
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 22
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.